The size and scale of the mystery seed packages sent to Americans in late July was far larger than initially reported, according to an investigation by Vice. The U.S. Department of Agriculture issued a warning against planting the mysterious seeds sent to random households from China. After filing freedom of information requests in every state and territory, Vice wrote that, “Conservatively, it is safe to say that tens of thousands of Americans received what they perceived to be Chinese mystery seeds in July.” There were at least 90 confirmed reports of Americans planting seeds in both Michigan and North Carolina, with Vice estimating the total number who had planted them nationwide to be in the hundreds. Scientists were able to identify some of the seeds, many of which came unlabeled or mislabeled, as common plants or weeds. Officially, the mail campaign seems to be a “brushing” operation to game online reviews from legitimate buyers.
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